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Dutch surplus church building offered for sale to U.S. televangelist

Realtor sees opportunity for Schuller

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

PEPERGA, the Netherlands – Former Dutch-American Henk Erkelens who operates a realty firm in Amstelveen near Amsterdam, thinks U.S. history buffs should take ownership of the Reformed church building of Peperga where about 400 years ago, famed Dutch colonial official Peter Stuyvesant was baptized. As Nieu Netherlant governor, Stuyvesant was an influential member of the early era of the Reformed presence in America.

Erkelens unsuccessfully had offered the church building along with Hotel Spoorzicht in the Frisian village for sale to U.S. televangelist dr. Robert Schuller of the Chrystal Cathedral whose tv program Hour of Power also broadcasts in the Netherlands. Erkelens says that the list prices for both buildings, together 900,000 euro, would represent a rather insignificant amount for Schuller’s budget.

The 1537 church could become a holiday destination for Americans visiting the Netherlands, Erkelens suggests. Other volunteer groups who actively preserve abandoned church buildings, were surprised that the Peperga building had been offered for sale to a foreigner (although Schuller belongs to an Iowa Dutch American family, reportedly with roots on one of the Frisian islands.)

Erkelens remains undaunted now that Schuller has failed to respond to the well-meant offer to add a historic Dutch building as a venue for his broadcasts. The real estate broker says it is an opportunity of a life-time for the right entrepreneur.